Globalization and the Study of International Security

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Cha, Victor D. (2000) Globalization and the Study of International Security , Journal of Peace Research 37(3): 391–403.

In spite of the plethora of literature on security and globalization, there is relatively little work written by security specialists that interconnects the two. In the case of security studies, this has been in no small part because the field remains entrenched in the 'foodfight' of competing realist, liberal, and constructionist research programs. In the case of the globalization literature, it has stemmed from a relatively stronger focus on the social and economic processes of globalization. This essay explores how the processes of globalization have fundamentally changed the way we think about security. It argues that non-physical security, diversification of threats, and the salience of identity are key effects of globalization in the security realm. These security effects translate into certain behavioral tendencies in a state's foreign policy that have thus far not been studied in the literature. First, globalization creates an interpenetration of foreign and domestic ('intermestic') issues such that national governments increasingly operate in spaces defined by the intersection of internal and external security. Second, globalization puts unprecedented bureaucratic innovation pressures on governments in their search for security, and creates multilateralist pressures to cooperate with substate and transnational partners rather than traditional allies. Third, globalization makes the calculation of relative capabilities extremely complex and non-linear. Finally, globalization compels contemplation of new modes of fighting as well as renders commonly accepted modes of strategic thinking and rational deterrence increasingly irrelevant. The 'new' security environment in the 21st century will operate increasingly in the space defined by the interpenetration between two spheres: globalization and national identity.